- Years old:
It was an early example of a chat showoriginally presented by Eric Maschwitz. Its theme music was "Knightsbridge March" by Eric Coates. Its introductory sequence had a voice crying "Stop" to interrupt the sound of busy central Londonbefore an announcer said "Once more we stop the mighty roar of London's traffic As part of this he stayed alone in the Chamber of Horrorsrode a circus horselay under a passing train, was hauled out of the sea by a helicopter and was attacked by a police dog. Antony Bilbow and Nan Winton were the last presenters of the programme and carried on in its successor which began after In town tonight missing week.
Click on the picture for In Town Tonight Introduction. At the end the announcer would command ' Carry on London! An early compere of the TV programme was John Ellison. Thousands of listeners rang the BBC to request the title of the tantalising few bars they had just heard and 20, letters descended on the BBC asking the composer's name.
In town tonight
Gramophone records of the march could not be made fast enough. Like his favourite poet, Byron, Eric Coates woke up one morning to find himself famous.
In Town Tonight ran for 27 years on radio and Eric Coates became England's best known composer at home and abroad. His melodies were whistled in the streets as well as sung in concert halls.
Knightsbridge March Theme. The theme tune is available on CD here.
Watch a full episode here. Eric Maschwitz was getting together a new programme called " In Town Tonight " - a Saturday evening, half hour radio programme introducing well known or unknown - but interesting - people who were "in town tonight.
Then, at the last moment, Eric Maschwitz said 'We've got to have some music for this; send someone down to Chappells in Bond Street down from Broadcasting House and get them to send every record with a London title. The records came up - amongst them The Knightsbridge March part of the London Suite which my father had just recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It was chosen by Maschwitz about In town tonight minutes before the programme went on the air.
As it happened, it was part of the show's success from the start.
Thirty thousand letters were received in six weeks asking about the music which was a huge postbag in those days. But the best part of it all was that my father was in his dark room in his Baker Street flat the night when In Town Tonight was first broadcast he used to transform his writing room into a dark room when he was developing and my mother called to him and said: "They're playing something In town tonight yours on the radio; I can't think what it is. He emerged from the dark room, listened a moment and said "No, neither can I" and went back again.
Half an hour later my mother called him again. If you have any comments or further information of interest, please e-mail webmaster whirligig-tv.